You could be forgiven for thinking that a comedy starring Vince Vaughn as a sperm donor who fathers 533 children is going to be lewd, loud and laced with gags about shooting your load.
But, with Canadian writer-director Ken Scott transplanting his own 2011 French-language hit Starbuck to the States – a case of, ahem, Coming to America – nothing could be further from the truth.
As the overly-fertile David Wozniak, Vaughn ditches his usual boorish screen persona for something altogether sweeter. Shifting from Montreal to Manhattan, Vaughn’s character is a simple soul who drives a deli truck (badly, apparently) for his family’s butcher business.
He’s also a bit of a numpty, given that he’s dating a policewoman (Cobie Smulders) and his solution to his mounting debt problems is to turn his place into a marijuana farm. Fed up of his slacking, when Smulders informs him that she’s pregnant, she also tells him that she wants to have the baby without his help.
David has bigger troubles when it’s revealed that a cock-up at the clinic he visited two decades ago meant his sperm deposits were used for hundreds of clients. Now 142 of the resulting kids want to know the identity of their biological father – known only to the world as ‘Starbuck’.
In shock and against the advice of his hapless lawyer-friend (Chris Pratt), David decides to investigate, incognito, who these kids are – everyone from pro-basketball players to buskers and budding actors, as it turns out.
Unquestionably, Delivery Man sets its tone to touchy-feely. And some will find Vaughn swapping frat-boy antics for group hugs as tasteless as a dozen dick jokes. But it’s done with enough spiky humour, largely thanks to the presence of Vaughn and Pratt. It’s a pity Smulders is left with as thankless a role as she’s ever likely to get.
But as David’s eyes open to the joys of parenthood, only the concrete-hearted will be left unmoved – or unamused.
Arriving with the original’s charm intact, the laughs may be on the squishy side but a versatile Vaughn is good value here. Fertile family fun.
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